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Student Action dominates ASUC elections

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Natalie Gavello, the next academic affairs vice president, stands in shock after the tabulations.


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Former editor in chief and president

APRIL 19, 2012

The party makeup of next year’s ASUC Senate and executive offices was revealed to be identical to that of the current year when the 2012 ASUC general election results were announced Thursday evening.

The Student Action slate once again swept all partisan executive positions and maintained its senate majority, despite the emergence of more third-party candidates running for executive seats compared to last year. According to the ASUC Elections Council, this election saw the highest voter turnout in recent history — about 12,600 students cast votes.

Student Action candidates Connor Landgraf, Justin Sayarath, Shahryar Abbasi and Natalie Gavello will become the next president, executive vice president, external affairs vice president and academic affairs vice president, respectively. Independent candidate Stacy Suh, chief of staff to the current student advocate, will assume the role of student advocate.

In ASUC elections, voters rank candidates in order of preference. After the calculation of the first-rank votes, the votes are redistributed to the voter’s second choice. This redistribution continues until there is a clear winner.

Following the tabulation of the results, Landgraf said he was “just overwhelmed.” He and Sayarath are the fourth consecutive Student Action president and executive vice president.

But while the executive party makeup is repeated, the race to the position was much different. Seven candidates — four of whom were current ASUC senators — ran for president, as opposed to four candidates last year.

And though the CalSERVE party attempted to make a comeback after not running any executive candidates last year, the party ultimately saw the exact same result as it did in the 2011 election.

In the end, CalSERVE Senator Andrew Albright and SQUELCH! Senator Noah Ickowitz came in second and third for the presidential seat, respectively.

Albright said his party ran a good election.

“I think it was a good rebirth year,” Albright said, adding that a lot of people came out in support.

Ickowitz said that running and losing as a third-party candidate for president was not a defeat.

“What was more important than just winning was telling the two major parties that they were not alone in this election,” Ickowitz said.

The election saw the traditional presence of the Defend Affirmative Action Party and also saw the emergence of a new third party, Students for a Democratic University, which was started by campus activists, including Occupy Cal members. Neither party was able to secure any positions.

In the senate, Student Action won 11 of the 20 seats, while CalSERVE obtained six. The SQUELCH! and Cooperative Movement third parties will each hold one senate seat, and another seat will be held by an independent — the exact makeup of the last two senate classes.

Student Action senate candidate Emily Chen accumulated the highest number of first-ranked votes, though SQUELCH! candidate Jason Bellet was listed as the top senate candidate after votes were redistributed.

Yet while the executive and senate winners celebrated the results of the election, the fate of both student fee initiatives is still unknown.

The Class Pass referendum — which would extend the bus pass contract with AC Transit — was not included in the tabulations due to an injunction set on the results by the ASUC Judicial Council. The injunction was placed as a result of charges filed by Graduate Assembly President Bahar Navab because of incorrect language on the ballot.

Furthermore, the V.O.I.C.E. Initiative  — which asked students to pay $2 per semester to support The Daily Californian — was invalidated by current ASUC President Vishalli Loomba in the midst of voting for the election last week. The senate overwhelmingly voted to uphold her order, but as of press time, the Judicial Council had not yet announced a decision on whether it will overturn the order after a hearing Wednesday night.

Chloe Hunt is the lead student government reporter.

APRIL 22, 2012

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